2002 in 2002

January 6, 2002
Buttercup


Inside the cavernous REI store in Berkeley, beneath the flickering overhead lights, we are trying on yellow his-and-her windbreakers.

Yellow isn't my first choice. I'd really rather have blue or black or red or purple or gray or *FootNotes* Green  ...  or any color EXCEPT for yellow, basically. But yellow is the only color available in both men's and women's incredibly groovy/sale-priced Sugoi bike-riding jackets.

Still, as yellow goes, I'll admit that this isn't the ugliest yellow I've ever seen. It's not that awful, anemic shade of yellow that leaches all pigment from my skin tone, like my high school graduation gown.  And it's not the screaming fluorescent yellow so popular in riding gear these days, either. This is a warm, buttery, almost orangish-yellow.

Sunflower? Papaya? Citron?

"You'd actually WEAR this?" I ask David again, as he contemplates his yellow-jacketed reflection in the mirror. I have an identical jacket, one size smaller, slung over my arm.

He nods and says yes, absolutely, this would be perfect.

We head for the cash register to pay for our windbreakers. As we stand in line, we idly discuss the color. Cornsilk? Lemon Chiffon? Amber? "I think it might be Goldenrod," I venture, running my hand across the silky fabric. David says yes, he thinks I'm probably right. I can't resist ribbing him a little -- Did you ever think you'd be wearing matching Goldenrod jackets in public? With a girl? On purpose? -- but he seems to be very secure and comfortable and not-weirded-out-at-all by the idea.

(This is a first. Nobody EVER wants to dress like me!  Just ask The Tots!!!!)

Eventually we reach the head of the checkout line. The REI gift certificate my mother sent us for Christmas covers most of the cost of both jackets. We pay the slight overage, refuse the nice young cashier's offer to sign us up for REI membership ("Not today," David says politely), then get back into the Subaru and head further into Berkeley. We're going to stop by a couple of bike stores, beginning the search for my Schwinn's replacement, and maybe have a burger at Kip's.

As David drives, I twist around in the passenger seat and admire our new riding jackets, folded neated on the back seat behind me. 

"You know what?" I muse aloud. "I'm looking at our jackets in daylight, and I don't think it's Goldenrod after all. I think it's actually closer to Buttercup."

Buttercup????

"Hold it," he sputters in faux indignance. "I said I'd wear Goldenrod.  I never said anything about Buttercup!

But of course he's only kidding. If I'd fixed the two of us up with matching Tulip Pink windbreakers, Danskin leotards and a couple of Barbie bike helmets, he'd wear them. And he'd wear them happily, just so long as I was huffing and puffing behind him on the bike trail.

(And he would probably look better in them than *I* would.)

By the time we finally get home -- two bike stores, two Santa Fe Burgers and an hour at Barnes & Noble later -- the sky has started to spit rain again. We had hoped to squeeze in a teeny-tiny bike ride this afternoon, maybe over to the abandoned Navy Base and back  ...  just to log a couple of preliminary miles onto the "2002 in 2002" chart David has already affixed to the refrigerator  ...  but at this point it doesn't seem like it's going to happen. We settle instead for a long tandem afternoon nap.

But first we hang the new Buttercup Yellow jackets in the closet, side by side.

We're going to be needing them soon.



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